This blog is largely abandoned. I have a newer project in support of my fabulous Science Fiction novel TRANSFIXION:
So click, and follow, and poke, and grip, and tweak, and whatever freaky stuff you people do on your computers…
This blog is largely abandoned. I have a newer project in support of my fabulous Science Fiction novel TRANSFIXION:
So click, and follow, and poke, and grip, and tweak, and whatever freaky stuff you people do on your computers…
Well there I’ve done it. I’m posting my very first novel to WATTPAD. Chapters 1 through 6 are already uploaded there, and each Wednesday I’ll roll out the next 3.
HELL OF A DEAL centers on the CEO of a motion picture studio who’s dying. Hollywood’s metaphorical deal with the devil is then suddenly rendered a bit more literal.
I never rolled the book out properly with reviews. If any interested fiction reviewers would like to receive the entire book in one chunk, just contact me.
This is a very different story than my new Young Adult Science Fiction Thriller: Transfixion.
by Joe Giambrone
“Join with us in our campaign to ensure that every police officer working the streets in this country wears a body camera.”
-Brown Family Statement
Let a real evolutionary leap come out of this Ferguson fiasco. Police will be required to wear body cameras at all times when on duty. Their actions will be recorded and not fall into the black hole where only one side of a story remains, as dead men tell no tales.
Police are to be held to a higher standard than the rest of us for several reasons. It is their job to enforce laws, and they are given discretion as well as deadly weaponry to do so. Regular citizens have no such priviledge. Police are a special case where accountability, oversight, accuracy, and the public trust need to be maintained. Right now these are all at an all-time low.
Paterson, Newark and Jersey City plan on equipping their forces with body cameras, and this is just the beginning. “The federal court in New York has ordered some police officers to carry cameras, while departments in Albuquerque, Fort Worth, Texas, and Oakland, California, have voluntarily started the practice.”
This is still a land of sovereign citizens with Constitutionally protected rights. As such we need to make sure that these rights are not systematicallly stripped away by law enforcement that operates above the law, beyond the law, outside the law. How much more difficult would it be for a dirty cop whose shifts are recorded? Think about it.
The Michael Brown slaying, whether one wishes to believe it or not, is an unclear situation. We have only the testimony of the officer, and some forensic evidence that may or may not have come about as claimed by the officer. If the officer was wearing a body camera then this entire shooting incident would be recorded frame by frame without the possibility of embellishment or of deception. It would also provide clear evidence against the assailant… or not.
The body camera has proven to be one of the most powerful and revolutionary tools of community policing to come about in decades. Where they have been in use, “public complaints against officers plunged 88% compared with the previous 12 months. Officers’ use of force fell by 60%.”
In a land where the police are turning into militarized organizations from out of 1984, or The Hunger Games, we are now at a crossroads. Either all that rhetoric about freedom, liberty, rights, law and order was meant to be taken seriously, or else we are to tolerate a fascistic system of double standards and unaccountable state power, including the wholesale murder in the streets of the poor and of minorities.
It’s time we put the solutions on the front page. Sixty percent decrease of police use of force. Nearly ninety percent reduction in citizen complaints. That means better policing, honest policing, trust built with the communities they are meant to serve. That is a solution that is beyond money, beyond empty slogans and has already been proven to work.
The White House has already responded to a petition demanding body cameras on police officers. Empty rhetoric so far, the usual bland say nothing, do nothing vapidity of politiicians. This is going to take citizens to stand up and demand a just system of justice. It will take awareness, political pressure and local action across the land. The structures of police departments are largely local and respond to local pressure.
Even the ACLU has gotten on board the recording of on-duty police officers. While the unaccountable surveillance of the public remains a violation of the 4th Amendment, the oversight of policing falls into a different category. ACLU policy analyst Jay Stanley said that, “all parties stand to benefit — the public is protected from police misconduct, and officers are protected from bogus complaints.” Interactions with police tend to be kept to a higher standard when there is a video record of everything said and done.
I have no idea if Michael Brown is the best icon for this cause, but he is clearly one of many, many victims of police violence against civilians in the US. Today there are 8,790,000 videos of “police brutality” searchable through Google. These are not taken as seriously as an official record, from the officer’s own body camera. Yet they are all one would need to make a reasoned case that it is time to hold police to the standard of the law.
Society only works when the social contract is honored by all parties. The citizens of Ferguson are telling us this week that one party has broken this contract.
Joe Giambrone publishes Political Film Blog.
Facebook has me unable to post any more comments that challenge Moyers’ slanted so-called “news.” Daily his feed posts a dozen different articles, mostly attacking Republicans, but coincidentally letting the Democrats slide, even in the face of glaring hypocrisy.
In a futile effort to keep him honest, I responded to these obvious hypocrisies. His gaggle of idiots mindlessly defended the indefensible (predictably). But Moyers himself never responds, except via this censorship.
Today he’s apparently taking on JP Morgan, while last week he was lauding Eric Holder, the man who let JP Morgan and friends rape and pillage without consequence. Shame this makes it nowhere near his deluded audience:
I think the zinger that got me banned by the poobah was this gem, which I may put on a shirt:
Apparently, by censoring dissenters, Moyers has copped to the “partisan news” charge. Guilty. Half the story is a full lie, you know. That’s how this country is so utterly fucked up the ass, most of the people believe one party’s propaganda or the other’s. Neither is telling the full truth, and that is a MAJOR FUCKING PROBLEM, MR. BILL MOYERS.
“When the doctrine of allegiance to party can utterly up-end a man’s moral constitution and make a temporary fool of him besides, what excuse are you going to offer for preaching it, teaching it, extending it, perpetuating it? Shall you say, the best good of the country demands allegiance to party? Shall you also say it demands that a man kick his truth and his conscience into the gutter, and become a mouthing lunatic, besides?”
“Anna,” said Al into his wireless earpiece transmitter.
“Mister Smith,” said the young man holding the briefcase behind Al.
“Who let you in here?” Al turned suddenly, afraid for his life.
“Your lovely assistant, Al. Do you mind if I call you Al?”
“Anna? Anna?” Al tapped the earpiece transmitter several times. “Anna?”
“I only need a minute of your time, sir.” The salesman smiled patiently.
“Oh, fabulous.” Al pressed the keypad and he stopped his treadmill. He turned back to face the salesman. “What are you selling, sir?”
The man’s eyes gleamed from an overabundance of ambition. “It’s more about what I’m giving.” The man struck an open pose to imply that he was being sincere.
“Call it what you like, but make it fast.” Smith gulped down his vitamin water, and he toweled off.
Al’s head felt light and airy. His balance was rubbery. The salesman’s intrusion unnerved him. Al’s attire was inappropriate for business, and frankly he smelled a little. All these factors combined to push Al toward the brink of open hostility.
The slick intruder seemed shady, too forward, and much too sure of himself. Perhaps it was time to push the red panic button for the very first time.
“Well Al, I’m Lou, and I’ve got what you want most.”
Al focused across the room on the salesman. “Which is?”
“Youth.” Lou raised up a little bottle of clear liquid, a bottle that featured technical-looking writing across its label. His other hand fondled a tri-fold color brochure, and he smiled again.
“What are you trying to say? Youth? What does that mean?” Al took his panic-button enabled remote controller, and he stared down at the various functions.
“Medical nanotechnology, Al, guaranteed to reverse the effects of aging. No bull. Guaranteed results.”
Smith digested the man’s pitch. He laughed a little at first, and then more incredulously as he pondered what the stranger had said. “A Fountain of Youth? In a bottle.”
“Exactly.” Lou placed the tiny vial down on Al’s massive desk, which was also a dark African mahogany. Lou unfolded his sales brochure, and he waited patiently for the old man to respond.
Al shook his head. “That’s not possible.”
“Isn’t it?” The salesman’s face seemed amused yet cryptic.
“I’ve researched this,” said Al, “on the Internet for years. There’s nothing like that.” Smith subconsciously stepped closer to the vial, still indignant. He wanted to get a look at the words on the bottle and on the brochure.
Lou sneered gently. “Well, Al, are you a scientist? Obviously it’s brand new technology. I don’t get off on wasting people’s time. If you want me to go, just say the word.”
Al pranced closer to the salesman, to the bottle and to the brochure. He straightened his spine, and he circled to the other side of his desk.
“You got five minutes, kid.” Smith flopped down in his big vibrating leather chair across from Lou.
Lou spun, and he gazed back into Al’s eyes momentarily. Although he was moderately handsome, the salesman had a quirky off-center smile. His eyes were misaligned, an odd face, yet almost familiar, like someone Al had seen in a dream.
“In a nutshell,” said Lou, “it’s about delivering the healing power of stem cells to the nuclei of each and every cell.”
As Lou explained the nuances of stem cells and the nano-machines that supposedly carted them around, Al drifted off in his mind to visions of regaining his potency. Al’s little buddy hadn’t responded for a couple of years. His wife Lisa had passed on, and so had Al’s libido. Smith wondered if this elixir could restore his manhood. Al wondered if he could become attractive to the girls once more. He imagined his skin shedding those wrinkles, imagined maybe passing for sixty. Perhaps, just perhaps, he could appear fifty-nine once again, instead of this seventy-three going on seventy-four shit.
Lou the salesman asked, “Do you know anything about nanotech?”
“A little bit,” Al said. “It’s very small.”
“Very small indeed. Micro-machines, Al. My product is a deep penetrator. It courses through your entire body, bringing the healing power into every tiniest fiber of your being. Some say it goes right down into your soul.” He paused to gauge the old man’s reaction.
Smith’s smile quickly drained away, and he snapped himself back to reality. “How much is it?”
Lou shrugged coyly. “How much?”
“Yes. I’d like to sample.”
“Ah.” Lou turned away for a second. “There are no samples. It’s either in or out. Yes or no. Green light, or get the fuck out. Capiche?” Lou snickered knowingly to himself.
Smith postured. He folded his arms, and he leaned back in his chair. “You’re pretty confident in your stuff, huh?”
“It’s the only game in town, Al. You don’t mind if I call you Al?”
“It’s fine. So, …how much?”
“Oh, Al. You can’t cheapen what I’m offering you with talk of money. Dirty, filthy money.”
“No. Of course not. I want money, I go to a bank. I come to you, Big Al Smith, the king of Hollywood, and of course?”
“You want to make a movie.”
“Of course I want to make a movie, Al! It’s the American dream!”
Smith released a long sigh. He was on the hook, and he couldn’t wriggle off no matter how hard he racked his mind. Half a century of squashing the little guys on the other side of the desk, but today Al Smith came up impotent. He had no choice but to give this stranger whatever the hell he wanted. Checkmate.
“You’re a medical salesman, Lou. What do you know about making movies?”
The young man shrugged. “Oh. You’d be surprised how multi-faceted I am, Al. Don’t you worry about my movie. It’s gonna be huge. A blockbuster.”
Al accepted the possibility, since he had no choice. “So what’s your movie about?”
“Oh, it’s glorious. I don’t have a script yet.”
“Of course not.”
Lou drummed on Smith’s desk, which irritated the old man. “Have you seen the video on our website, the animal tests? Go ahead, call it up. Here.” Lou reached across Smith’s desk, and he handed Al a business card with the URL.
Smith typed it in. “All right.” Al checked the name on the card, which was Louis Seaford, Sales Manager of the company.
A video clip played immediately. Some old mangy mutt, half Labrador, half Shepherd, lay on the bare dirt. An apparently very naughty nurse, her white skirt not even covering her lace panties, injected the dog with a syringe.
After a few seconds, the mutt became active. It jumped up and shook its head wildly. Its fur transformed and shone. The dog barked like a puppy, and it jumped about excitedly. After a few more moments, the dog looked much like a puppy. It licked the brunette nurse on her face in a lapping frenzy.
The nurse actress scratched and rubbed playfully at the dog’s belly. It all seemed in fun, but her face suggested something erotic, even nasty.
Al exploded, “That’s impossible! You’re using visual effects!”
“Oh, no, no, no, no. That’s your area Al. Not mine. Besides it’s guaranteed. Guaranteed results, or no deal.”
“Guaranteed results? In writing?”
Lou seemed insulted. “Everything we do is in writing. You don’t think I’d try to trick you, Al? An old pro like you? How could I get away with something like that? Impossible.”
I’ve slogged through so much crap this week as a result of Elliot Rodger’s final act that I think I’ll upset a few and call it for what it is. The rampage has been claimed by women, of course, ranting about rape particularly.
Elliot Rodger didn’t rape anyone. There is no indication that he could even talk to a woman. He saw himself as the opposite of brutal, uncouth rapists, labeling himself repeatedly as the “ultimate gentleman.”
He was next claimed by the religious prophecy crowd, which had no trouble tying him to the gay agenda. Gay marriage and women working outside the home were clearly to blame. That Rodger was an extreme hetero, obsessed with finding a woman to the point of insanity, seems to have been edited out of this week’s sermons.
Of course the anti-gun lobby claimed him immediately, and that was obvious. This brought in the pro-gunners and so that noise blares at the usual cacophony. When white people get shot laws get enacted, and so stay tuned to see where this initiative goes.
Critics of Hollywood were quick to jump on board too. Elliot also played World of Warcraft for 14 hours per day at one point in his life. So anti-Hollywood and anti-video games, check, check.
So it was “rape culture,” Hollywood, video games, the gays, Godlessness, gun laws etc. that created Rodger. Can’t forget the mental health establishment, which failed him with non-prescription therapy. Speculation abounds that he was on anti-depressants, and so that theory spreads widely without evidence. The reporting so far suggests that Rodger refused to take drugs, and he felt he was beyond perfect as-is, as any of his many vlogs will establish.
The extreme right was typing “false flag” the evening of the spree. They discredit themselves.
I’ve seen a lot of prefabricated agenda-driven hype on Elliot Rodger, preformed ideologies that his rampage fit neatly into. The narrative that impresses me the most, the one with the most evidence and substantiation, however, is this one:
Elliot Rodger, if you listen to his words, is the closest thing we’ve had yet to American Psycho.
“I always loved luxury and opulence.”
The virgin spree-shooter, like the others, had a broken spring in his head. His drive for love, superiority, sex and acknowledgment are fairly universal themes though. Elliot was a lonely, shy person who couldn’t relate to others, and he never did figure out how to approach women. He also had a case of extreme narcissism. This victim-complex became more severe over time with each failed attempt at romance. Rodger, an American neo-Caligula, believed himself to be the most deserving of all, and it shocked him to his fibers that he was unwanted and alienated, when in fact he did everything the culture suggested would work out for him. He was a product of magazine advertisements, television and movie iconography, red carpet galas and paparazzi hysteria. He wore the right clothes, drove the right car and he bragged in exasperation that his sunglasses cost $300. So why not the expected rewards of attention, sex and love, his consumerist fairy tale? Movie actors just across the room received all that and more without even trying.
“They’re kissing right now. It’s torture for me to watch, but I have to do this. I have to film this. I have to show the world why life isn’t fair. I have to show everyone why I hate the world, ’cause no girl would do this with me.”
-Elliot Rodger (My reaction to seeing a young couple at the beach, Youtube, May 23, 2014)
Elliot Rodger forces us to consider his case, because we don’t expect him. We assume someone with everything, all the luxuries, the youth, the potential, the connections, will automatically thrive in our society. He was well positioned to follow the yellow brick road into Hollywood, but he had a loose screw. Perhaps a biological problem with his brain, that coupled with his sense of superiority and entitlement made him the perfect psycho killer.
Seven cops descended upon his apartment last month, and yet none bothered to search his bedroom; they were so charmed by this “ultimate gentleman.” The story of which of his videos triggered the police alert and whether the police actually watched it remains fuzzy. Further, the particulars of his admissions at that time, and whether they clearly showed him to be a threat, are hard to piece together. Add to that a number of deleted videos from Youtube, and the picture may be getting fuzzier by the day. ‘What did the police know, and when did they know it,’ is a valid question. ‘Why didn’t they know it’ would be another. Rodger’s own mother had alerted his therapist over disturbing videos he had posted. The therapist eventually contacted police to check on him, but what exactly was said? And what wasn’t?
So love turns to hate, jealousy to rage. It’s a timeless descent, and we’ve seen this show before. Interestingly Rodger accepted a compromise, an escape plan for a while.
“…if I could somehow become a multi-millionaire at a young age, then my life would instantly become better than most people my age…. That was a form of peaceful, happy revenge and it became my only hope.”
His only hope at avoiding the planned “Day of Retribution,” is what he means. Elliot seems to have been America’s son, a true believer ready to kill and die for the Consumerist Dream. He’d accept multi-millions of dollars in lieu of love and sex. That sum was easier dreamed than achieved, it turns out.
“I am not part of the human race. Humanity has rejected me… Magnificent, glorious, supreme, eminent… Divine!” (Manifesto)
Elliot Rodger began by throwing drinks at couples at coffee shops. He progressed to trying to push girls off a ledge at a party, for which he was thrown down himself and then beaten.
“A dark, hate-fueled rage overcame my entire being, and I tried to push as many of them as I could from the 10-foot ledge.”
He purchased a Supersoaker to fill with orange juice in order to attack those he felt were inferior – and that could be pretty much anyone. Perhaps he longed to fill it with his own urine, but his gentlemanly sensibilities prevailed.
“In addition, I had to suffer the shame of other boys respecting me less because I didn’t get any girls. Everyone knew I was a virgin. Everyone knew how vulnerable I was to girls, and I hated everyone just for knowing it.” (Manifesto, Epilogue)
Elliot Rodger stabbed three boys to death prior to his shooting rampage. His hatred of men whom he felt were inferior is similar to his hatred of the beautiful women who had rejected him, “the stupid, degenerate obnoxious men.” Those undeserving inferiors received all the affection in Elliot’s world because women were blind to his magnificence.
“They think like beasts and in turn they are beasts. Women are incapable of having morals or thinking rationally. They are completely controlled by their depraved emotions and vile sexual impulses… The most beautiful of women choose to mate with the most brutal of men, instead of magnificent gentlemen like myself.”
On the day of the rampage that loose screw finally fell right out. Whether any mental health treatment could have affected Elliot Rodger or not, we’ll never know. Whether there was enough evidence to hold him in custody, we can’t be certain. His manifesto, My Twisted World, was emailed out just prior to the spree. It would be read too late to affect the outcome.
Near the end, we find the true depth of Elliot Rodger’s psychosis…
“In order to completely abolish sex, women themselves would have to be abolished. All women must be quarantined like the plague they are, so that they can be used in a manner that actually benefits a civilized society. In order to carry this out there must exist a new and powerful type of government, under the control of one divine ruler, such as myself. The ruler that establishes this new order would have complete control over every aspect of society… The first strike against women will be to quarantine all of them in concentration camps. At these camps, the vast majority of the female population will be deliberately starved to death… I would take great pleasure and satisfaction condemning every single woman on earth to starve to death… It is the only way to purify the world.”
-Elliot Rodger, infamous Isla Vista psycho killer
Victoria Migisi-Smith’s first film, Running At Dad, received mild praise along the festival circuit, about twenty-one years ago, when Victoria was still in film school.
Shot somewhat cheaply, it was a tepid melodrama about a young woman in college who studied to become a marine biologist.
When her father became ill, the girl in the film dropped out of school to take over her family’s business. The company her father had built, it turned out, polluted the ocean and was killing off much of the bottom-dwelling marine life. When the woman realized the destruction that her own company was causing, she decided to run it into the ground and bankrupt it.
At the end of the film, as several hundred employees were turned out into the streets, the main character embarked on an endless summer. She drove off to surf for the rest of her life down in Nicaragua and points south.
There were no caped heroes or killer robots, no explosions, no car chases, no firearms or bombs, no supernatural computer effects or other magic. Victoria’s little movie looked very much like a thousand other films that had screened before it.
Victoria’s direction on Running At Dad was mostly competent. She tinkered with the script, however, and she changed the name of the father character to Alvin. This raised a few eyebrows as people speculated on how the father-daughter relationship in her movie reflected reality vis a vis the director and her own father, who was Big Al Smith.
Victoria struggled to finish post production on Running At Dad, and it got ugly at times. Her relationship with the film’s writer, her roommate at film school, had soured with Victoria’s new ending and rewrite. The original script had the daughter and father reconciling, and each compromised their value systems.
Victoria’s no-holds-barred anarchist manifesto horrified the writer roommate, and the two fought heated exchanges both on and off the set. In their final scuffle, the disgruntled screenwriter grabbed a four thousand dollar rented light and toppled it over. It smashed.
Running At Dad, although winning a few notable accolades, was not picked up for distribution. Victoria refused to approach her own dad, but she did proposition all of his competitors.
Al asked Victoria for a screening copy, so that he could decide whether the movie could be released by The Smith Company.
Victoria balked. She told Al that this was not a Smith Company type of film, which it wasn’t. She told him that she didn’t trust his marketing people, which she didn’t. And she told him that she would get it placed elsewhere, which she couldn’t.
One of the buyers came right out and said, “Are you kidding me? Your own father doesn’t want this film. Why would we?”
Victoria responded, “I haven’t offered it to him.”
“Uh huh.” The man didn’t believe her.
None of them did. Al’s shadow hung over all of Victoria’s efforts to break away and to stand on her own merits.
Six months later, after languishing in distribution limbo, Victoria reassessed her situation. She visited her parents on a Saturday at their Beverly Hills home, and she brought along a video cassette.
“Here,” she said, and she handed the videotape to Al.
“What’s this, sweetheart?” Al smiled, and he accepted the cassette.
“It’s Running At Dad.”
Al studied the tape carefully. “And why are you giving this to me now?”
“You know why.”
“All right. I’ll watch it …tonight.”
Victoria nodded, and she strolled out of the house.
Al considered the press coverage that he had read about the film. He was curious, but he was also afraid. Al sensed it was going to be a money loser, and its politics would brand him a pariah. But, it was Victoria’s art, and Al couldn’t refuse without a damned good reason. There would be consequences either way he decided.
Al mentioned the videotape to Lisa that evening at dinner. It was just the two of them. “Have you seen it?”
“Yes. I saw it. Twice.” Lisa stopped eating, and she studied Al.
Al drew a blank. “Where was I?”
“Not there, obviously.” Lisa placed her fork down, and she dabbed her mouth with her cloth napkin. Lisa grew tense. She knew that influencing Al’s perception could be important to their family in the long run.
Al chomped at his leg of lamb. “Well, was it any good?”
Lisa thought deeply about her response. “It was okay.”
Al shook his head, and he turned to her quickly. “Okay? Just okay?”
“It was okay. It was her first film. What did you think it would be?”
“I don’t know. I’m gonna have to watch it.”
Lisa’s face twisted in animated gestures for her own amusement. “Well don’t strain yourself too hard, Alfred. This is only your daughter, not some big shot.”
Al looked off annoyed. “I’ve read some pretty damning reviews.” He guzzled down his Shiraz, and he poured out another glass for himself.
Lisa laughed incredulously. “So, you are now going to start listening to the critics? Pretty convenient timing.” Lisa picked up her fork, and she continued with her meal.
“I can’t just distribute it under The Smith Company.”
“Why the hell not? You have not even seen it.”
“Because I know what’s gonna be in there.”
“That’s fine. Tell Victoria you refuse to help.”
“It’s not like that.” Al huffed out a breath. “I’d have to start a whole new division, an Indie film sub-brand. She just doesn’t’ fit in with the other entertainment.”
“Of course not. It is not entertainment to her.” Lisa crinkled up her nose. “It’s art.”
“Whatever you want to label it, honey, it’s not right for the existing sales channels. I’d have to spend millions setting up a new brand, for content that’s, let’s say marginal.”
Lisa glared. “So, the film you have not even seen is marginal. This is Al Smith’s professional criticism.”
“The profit potential is marginal. It’s almost guaranteed to lose money.”
“Oh, Al. Whatever.”
Al raised his voice. “The point is she did it. She got the experience. Now she can go direct something marketable.”
“Would you at least consider hiring her for a different film?”
“Of course I will. But Victoria wouldn’t be interested in our kinds of pictures. She hates them.”
Lisa nodded slowly. “You are probably right. I am not all that fond of most of your movies either.”
“They pay the mortgage.”
Al finished his plate. “Do we have any ice cream?”
“I believe so.”
Al watched Running At Dad by himself, a bowl of cherry vanilla to ease the pain. The lighting was good. The camera focus was pretty good. Movement was jittery and rough at times. The girl in the leading role was talented, but there wasn’t enough coverage, and so the editing was a little choppy with discontinuity issues. Sound was also less than stellar, and it felt muted and claustrophobic during the indoor scenes. The music soundtrack grated, and it sounded amateur and annoying at best. All in all, this was a movie that Big Al Smith would never consider despite its gut-wrenching story, a story designed to upset the responsible fathers of the world. Al’s gut felt a little wrenched.
The main character, a very pretty girl with some psychological issues, drove off with her surfboard clamped to the roof of her Bug. The surfboard included an outline of a middle finger etched in the fiberglass. The girl stopped, and she picked up another girl from the plot along with her backpacks. It then cut to a two-shot inside the car. Then the two girls kissed one another, like Bogie and Bacall.
“Whoa!” Al’s spine jolted. “Holy.” His mind raced and raced. “What is she saying?”
Victoria seemed to have worked very hard to tell the world something, but it could be something Al most certainly did not want to know.
Al trudged into his bedroom where Lisa read a novel on their bed. His mind was disoriented and afraid to speak. “Lisa?”
“That movie. The ending.”
“What about it?”
“Is she what?”
Al felt dizzy and afraid to ask. He didn’t want to say the words. “Is she saying that she’s a lesbian now?”
“Oh, Al. I do not know. So what if she is?”
“So what if she is? She’ll never work directing mainstream pictures.”
“I thought that we already established she has no desire to do that?”
Al sat gingerly on the edge of the mattress. “Does she have a boyfriend?”
“I have not seen one around recently.”
Lisa snorted. “Well, that would be cute.”
Al collapsed down back onto the mattress. “Oh, God. Lisa?”
Al stretched his arm over, and he reached for her.
Lisa placed down the book, and she slid over to embrace Al. They twisted around to get comfortable on the bed. Lisa stroked Al’s head, and she smiled. Al pushed his arm fully around her, and they hugged tightly.
Lisa continued to look down on Al’s head, gently petting him. “What is the matter, baby?”
“Nothing. Just want a hug.”
“All right.” Lisa kissed the crown of his head. The two nestled together until Lisa fell asleep.
Al thought very hard that night about how to solve his intractable problem. If he released Victoria’s movie as a Smith Company Release, he’d be the laughing stock of Hollywood, and he’d lose money. If he created a new independent label to do the deed, he’d still be the laughing stock of Hollywood, and he’d probably lose even more money. If he turned Victoria down flat, he’d create a serious rift between them that he couldn’t control. That was out of the question.
Al needed a way around the problem, some kind of flanking maneuver. Time was ticking. Without getting any sleep at all, Al brainstormed through the hours. When the sun rose, Al snuck out of his bedroom, and he made a direct dash for his address book.
Dialing up Simon Lockhart of Lock Releasing, the two had a casual relationship, but this call was truly out of the blue. “Simon, it’s Al Smith.”
Simon Lockhart, who was about to complain over the early wake-up call, immediately reassessed. “Yeah Al, what can I do for you?” Simon sounded cool and familiar.
“I’ve heard you’ve acquired that new action picture from France—“
Simon was taken aback. “Well, that news travels fast. How’d you hear?”
“And this is not a congratulatory call, I take it?”
“You paid eighteen mil.”
“Well, maybe I did,” said Simon, “and maybe I didn’t. You suddenly have a taste for French cuisine, Smith?”
“Simon,” Al strove to sound smug and condescending. “You and I know that you can’t possibly support that picture properly. You’re probably on the brink of chapter eleven just to secure the rights.”
Simon sneered. “If you like the product so much, why didn’t you pony up a year ago?”
“Let’s just say I’ve seen the light on the new French cinema. What did you realistically hope to recoup from this picture, Two Bullets or whatever it’s called?”
“Oh, Al, how can you put me on the spot like that?” Simon fidgeted at the other end of the line.
“Gimme a number.”
Simon Lockhart lingered on that magical dividing line between sheer terror and overwhelming joy. It took him several attempts to get the words to form in the air. “Twenty-four.”
“Okay. Done, …on one condition.”
Simon grunted. “Oh, you. I knew it. Knew it. All right Al, I’ll play along. What is this condition?”
“It’s sensitive. Confidential.”
“It dies with me. So help me Buddha.”
“No joking. …My daughter’s film, Running At Dad, are you familiar with it?”
Simon recalled the negative impressions. “I have a hazy recollection. I’m sure we passed on it.”
“I cannot release it here. It just doesn’t fit. But you can.”
“At what price, Al?”
“Three point two.”
Lockhart considered a moment. “So, I’m on the hook for another three point two million, Al? Then the price of Two Bullets just went up to twenty-seven.”
“Twenty-six point five.”
Al emphasized each syllable, “Two things are pivotal. She cannot know it came from me, and you need to call her today, this morning.”
Simon thought it over, for one final moment. “All right, Al. Give me your fax number.”
“Great. Let’s do this.”
A grueling couple of hours passed, while Al waited for Victoria’s news to arrive.
She did call, and before noon, very excited on the phone. “Daddy? Did you watch the film?”
“Yes, Vee, I did. Very edgy, uncompromising vision.”
“Thank you. Well, the reason I’m calling is that one of the distributors called. They want the rights!”
“You’re kidding? That’s wonderful.”
“It’s Lock Releasing.”
“Good guys over there.” Al smiled to himself.
“They deal with independents all the time.” Victoria felt lightheaded and unhinged.
“I’m very familiar with the competition,” said Al.
“Should I sign with them?” Victoria knew she was being cagey, but this is how it had to be.
“Well, what are they offering darling?”
“Two point two million. We won’t even break even.”
“No. I heard you. I heard you. You tell them three point two million.”
“They’ll never go for it.”
“They’ll go for it. You tell Simon Lockhart personally that you can take the picture over to Smith if he doesn’t make you a real offer.”
Victoria was stunned. “You’re serious?”
“Just tell him that. See what happens.”
“Okay, daddy. This is nerve wracking!”
“Good luck, princess.”
“Okay.” Victoria hung up.
“That son of a bitch.”
Victoria called Al back twenty minutes later. “Daddy?”
“I’m here, Vee.”
“We got the deal!”
“He gave you three point two million?”
“Fantastic.” Al breathed a sigh of relief. “You’re in business.”
Joe Giambrone | May 11, 2014
What happened on May 2nd of this year in Odessa, Ukraine, was a complex event that has been glossed over by most news sources. The US corporate coverage has been criminal in its demonization of anti-Maidan/anti-coup activists. The propaganda narrative has even attempted to blame the victims for starting the fires that allegedly killed them. This is two levels removed from reality, and perhaps even three.
Much more information is available than has been reported in America’s criminally-complicit mainstream news. But even alternative journals have failed to pursue the most damning, morally repugnant aspect to this story: who started the violence, and why?
When a massacre happens the horrors of the atrocities tend to distract the public’s attention from the details of how it came to be in the first place. This is known to provocateurs, be they in Kiev, Moscow or in Langley Virginia. Langley is the home base of the Central Intelligence Agency, of course. The CIA director visited Kiev, confirmed by the White House on April 15th, and “dozens” of CIA agents are reported to be in Ukraine “advising” the unelected coup regime as I type this.
On May 2nd a series of events occurred that can be pieced together from the numerous videos and photographs. These show undercover police provocateurs dressed up as anti-Maidan/pro-Russian activists, but these are coordinated by a uniformed officer. The officer is identified, at Oriental Review, as “Odessa Interior ministry branch Colonel Dmitry Fucheji.”
Note the red tape armbands.
Confirmation and analysis is provided by Russian news anchor Pavel Pchelkin at Channel One Russia. The gunmen, allegedly from the “pro-Russian” side were undercover agents coordinated by the Ukrainian interior ministry. A platoon of approximately 30 armed undercover agents fired numerous rounds at the football crowds, who were known to be “pro unity” or “pro Ukraine” and aligned with the Maidan coup government. The undercover/gunmen started a street battle from behind police lines, hiding behind a wall of officers and instigating the football crowd to attack them.
The neo-Nazi Right Sector joined the enraged football crowd, and together they pursued these provocateurs – who were dressed similarly to “pro-Russian” protesters – pursuing them all the way back to the Union hall, where the actual non-violent anti-Maidan activists had set up camp. Once this violence had begun it was easily turned against the real anti-Maidan activists, and the police provocateurs disappeared back into the police brigades.
Further confirmation comes from a Ukrainian official, acting Prosecutor General Oleh Makhnitsky:
“This action [in Odessa] was not prepared at some internal level, it was a well-planned and coordinated action in which some authorities’ representatives have taken part.”
Undercover provocateurs shot at the football crowds to initiate the violence.
The violence was led and drawn back toward the political targets: the anti-Maidan activists.
Mass murder followed.
The next level of reality that intrudes upon and discredits Western media reporting is the idea that the fires did the killing. This is also false. The victims inside the union hall were mostly murdered with gunshots, as well as strangled to death by the neo-Nazi Right Sector storm troopers, who also were seen inside the building waving flags and cheering.
Most of the bodies seen in photographs were burned in order to hide evidence of gunshot wounds (warning: graphic photographs). This is also not reported across the media spectrum, as if it were of no importance. If the fire is to blame, this is akin to an act of nature, rather than a series of cold-blooded murders by rampaging neo-Nazi thugs allied with our supposed good buddies in Kiev.
Western media, therefore, has become a complicit propaganda organ in spinning narratives for the US State Department and its Nazi partners in the Ukraine. It truly sickens me the depravity and gall of these psychopaths (in both nations) who, in broad daylight, support the worst of the worst, war criminals, mass murderers, racist violent lunatics. This has been true of Syria and Libya prior, and now it is true in the Ukraine.
These imperial games do not amuse the Russians, of course. Russia has an intimate history with Naziism in World War Two. More Russians died in that war than did Americans, Brits, Japanese or Germans. The US/EU empowerment of the most violent, sadistic and murderous forces in Ukraine has driven the world to a true crisis point.
Since when is gaining power through Molotov cocktails, snipers and bludgeoning the police considered “duly elected?”
This neo-Nazi power seizure has been a US project for quite a while now. Obama’s neo-con strategist, Victoria Nuland, has bragged that $5Bn of US tax money has been poured into Ukraine since the fall of the Soviet Union in order to influence the political system there. Nuland was caught on tape choosing “Yats” to be the frontman for US/NATO interests.
Arseniy Yatsenuk’s own foundation website prominently lists, as William Blum noted:
NATO, the National Endowment for Democracy, the US State Department, Chatham House (Royal Institute of International Affairs in the UK), the German Marshall Fund (a think tank founded by the German government in honor of the US Marshall Plan), as well as a couple of international banks. Is any comment needed?
This latest manifestation of covert US foreign policy should shock the entire world to its core and cause them to question just about every assumption they may have had about the US. Actual voting – democracy – is demonized in Crimea and in the other eastern provinces of Ukraine, while firebomb tossing Nazi psychopaths, who gleefully rape and strangle to death pregnant women, are promised $27Bn in IMF graft and loan guarantees to help cement their power over Kiev.
That message couldn’t be clearer.
The people of the east are under direct threat from the fascist coup regime in Kiev. The US/Nato have helped install the fascists in power in an illegal putch. This is bringing the world to the brink of war, as the illegitimate Kiev regime targets the 8 million Russian speaking Ukrainians who live in the eastern provinces.
Just signed a contract for my new novel. Book may take a year to show up in the real world, but this is a welcome turning point. Will have more news once I get a handle on the process. This is a sci-fi action thriller aimed at younger readers.
the fact or condition of being banal; unoriginality.
“there is an essential banality to the story he tells”
triteness, vapidity, staleness,unimaginativeness, lack of originality, prosaicness,dullness;
I need to throw that out there. I’ve been poking about Worldpress blogs. There are some “freshly pressed” ones, and I uh, guess this may sound a bit on the envy/jealousy part of the spectrum. But, seriously, who do you have to fuck to get “freshly pressed” over at WP Central? Because these masterpieces of wit I see over at the fresh pressed stand, for the most part – not all mind you – for the most part, strike me, uh… well you put your thinking cap on for that one. Nudge nudge, wink wink, say no more, my son. Say no more.
The neo-fascist coup d’etat that overthrew the democratically elected government of Ukraine has the President of the United States firmly on board. Obama’s support for this illegitimate, unlawful transfer of power in Ukraine has reached schizophrenic heights as an Executive Order has proclaimed a “national emergency” in defense of the Molotov tossing, spiked bat-swinging Neo-Nazis of Kiev. As Secretary of State John Kerry threatens to escalate the East/West conflict in cryptic allusions, the world now awaits the possibility of World War. US warships, planes and troops continue to scurry toward the region.
What Obama has done is absurd. There is no more diplomatic way of stating it. His hypocrisy and support for clearly illegitimate and unelected Ukrainian leaders now threatens the freedom, and lives, of Americans who call out this insanity, such as yours truly in this very article. Obama’s official embrace of the ridiculous rivals his predecessors, Bush and Cheney. This is no coincidence. The architect of the Ukraine regime change plan was none other than Dick Cheney’s former adviser and Obama’s current Assistant Secretary of State, Victoria Nuland. The Project for a New American Century lurches forward like Frankenstein’s monster.
“I, BARACK OBAMA, President of the United States of America, find that the actions and policies of persons — including persons who have asserted governmental authority in the Crimean region without the authorization of the Government of Ukraine — that undermine democratic processes and institutions in Ukraine; threaten its peace, security, stability, sovereignty, and territorial integrity; and contribute to the misappropriation of its assets, constitute an unusual and extraordinary threat to the national security and foreign policy of the United States, and I hereby declare a national emergency to deal with that threat.”
The “Government of Ukraine” (nice use of CAPS) has just been installed via chaotic street battles and a mysterious sniper, apparently brought in by the neo-nazi Maidan leaders. The elected President of Ukraine has fled to Russia, leaving a power vacuum where Obama’s so-called “Government of Ukraine” enjoys no actual democratic legitimacy. This government was simply not elected by anyone. Period. Full stop.
However, Victoria Nuland has copped to spending $5 Billion of U.S. taxpayer money to achieve this goal and to install this regime. The US State Department has been instrumental in deciding who would and who would not become Obama’s current “Government of Ukraine.” This flagrantly gratuitous fraud is backed up by Executive threats of property seizure and even escalation toward war.
[Oleh Tyahnybok, Victoria Nuland, John McCain]
Crimea, which has yet been unaffected by the brutal street violence of Kiev, has arranged a popular referendum — an actual vote of the people — to decide whether they want to remain a part of Victoria Nuland and Barack Obama’s little neo-fascist experiment. The people of Crimea may choose independence or protection by Russia, but this is not to be permitted by Washington.
“There will be a [U.S.] response of some kind to the [Crimean] referendum itself… If there is no sign [from Russia] of any capacity to respond to this issue … there will be a very serious series of steps on Monday.”
-John Kerry, 3.13.2014
So, buckle down, America. There’s currently a “national emergency” that people in a tiny region half a world away may vote the wrong way, the way that Washington officially dislikes. Update: Apparently they have, with 95% of Crimea in favor of secession from Ukraine in preliminary polling.
Crimea has always been a part of the Russian sphere of influence, as it has majority Russian ancestry. The Russians, predictably, want to keep their port on the Black Sea. NATO/Washington wants to take away this naval port. If you can imagine a game of Risk in play, this is simply a matter of moving a few military resources around on a map to embolden one and to strategically weaken the other.
Add to that Chevron’s holdings in Ukraine (and other US multinationals) with a nice profitable lease to frack the hell out of the country and extract natural gas for the next 50 years, and then we have a very obvious, tired old story of resource wars and strategic one-upsmanship. That and the IMF plan to indebt the people of Ukraine for many more billions in loans and impose “austerity” on their vital services. This is the “Economic Hitman” formula employed countless times around the world and already written about extensively. These are the forces in play, fun and games and billions to be extracted.
Plan Ukraine has absolutely nothing to do with democracy, with freedom, with vision, with any of the lofty rhetorical snake shit that readily squirts out of American television sets.
These neo-con warmongers, like John McCain and Victoria Nuland, had a lot of good chuckles empowering Al Qaeda in Syria in broad daylight, their junior partner Saudi Arabia doing most of the covert dirty work. Civilians on the ground are at the most risk, but Crimea so far appears to be relatively secure. That would be Russia’s doing.
Neo-con men like Barack, in addition to staggering hypocrisy, can be quite petulant and vindictive in their policymaking. Here’s the meat of his latest threat against the people of the world, including the reader:
“…any person determined by the Secretary of the Treasury, in consultation with the Secretary of State:
(i) to be responsible for or complicit in, or to have engaged in, directly or indirectly, any of the following:
(A) actions or policies that undermine democratic processes or institutions in Ukraine;”
That designation would include Nuland, McCain, Kerry and Obama himself if anyone was keeping track. But Caesar’s diktats are subject to Caesar’s interpretation. Caesar’s laws are to be applied in the manner Caesar prefers. Law is reduced to whim now, and it doesn’t really have to make sense; does it?
Here’s Paul Craig Roberts saying essentially the same thing (two days later!):
Time for another film discussion, this time centering on the most powerful single shots. More important than aesthetics are the reasons why they stand out as exceptional and changed the directions of their stories. This is not about length, although some are going to be long duration, but more about how what is revealed altered the story in front of our eyes.
In a film filled with iconic, brilliant shots, the one that sticks out is when Tuco finally gets his greedy little hands on the gold. With a handful of gold coins, he looks up from the grave he dug it out of, and he calls to Blondie to celebrate. Only, when he looks up, he sees a noose hanging, and the camera frames him inside the noose looking down. That moment changes everything. The nature of their relationship has always been in question. What Blondie would do to Tuco and how much he wants the gold are open questions. Is Blondie a bad guy like Angel Eyes? What would Tuco do if the situation was reversed? All of this rushes forth in that one moment Tuco looks up into the noose.
They had been hanging one another throughout the start of the film. Tuco had been a professional noose evader for a while. It all brings the film to a breathless kind of climax at that moment, and the realization that there’s more to the story left to play out.
Kubrick does things you don’t expect. The film opens right in Alex’s face, and he’s staring straight into the camera, dressed in a top hat, with odd makeup on his eyes. The stare is cryptic and discomforting. The music swirls, and the camera decides to roll back slowly.
The reveal is the point, as the location is extremely unusual. Alex’s droogies are revealed, drugged out and yet dressed oddly in white long johns of some sort. This seems like some evil clown convention, but the camera continues backward. The tables are vulgar porcelain naked whores. The contrast between Alex and his droogies and the women on which they rest their boots is indicative of something extremely weird, a world we haven’t seen before. The camera simply rolls back the length of the space, showing that this is a semi-normal night for those present.
John Cleese and Kevin Kline engage in a battle of wills, where Kline is insanely jealous over Wanda. The shot opens up tight on Cleese, who a minute ago was stubbornly ready to fight Kline, insulting him in arrogant British form. But in this shot, a close-up, he’s apologizing sincerely. More than sincere, we pull out, flip upside down and find him hanging out the window by his feet. The camera, on a crane, has swung back to reveal Cleese dangling by his legs, with stunned witnesses in the background, while Kline decides whether or not to drop him. The shot uses a tight to wide kind of reveal over the duration. Many of these most memorable shots use creative reveals that throw a monkey wrench into the story. In this case, we realize that Kline is totally psychotic and he might murder Cleese or any of the others at any time.
This harrowing first person POV shot opens in a moving car, at the start of an armed robbery. The person wearing the camera, if that’s what it is, willingly participates in a violent assault on a Chinese restaurant. We don’t have any idea who the person filming is, or if they are an important part of the movie to come.
Since these thugs are all we know, it’s another discomforting jolt that this film is being told from the POV of a lowlife, an unseen criminal. By the end of the clip, he’s hanging on the side of a building, and he falls to his death. The point then was not to set up this character at all, but rather the technology used to record his death. These people were all disposable pawns, and the crucial information, the brain/media linkage is what is important. The recording device successfully became a part of the plot in a unique way.
One of the most impressive shots of all time, the camera dances around a movie lot. There it picks up snippets of various conversations, one of them through a window. It also provides crucial data about the plot, involving postcards.
The shot itself begins with an odd giveaway, that the film itself isn’t real. It actually opens on a painting of people making a movie, and the sounds of the crew are included. The secretaries/assistants handle the studio’s business, but this was already spoiled as being unreal — only it isn’t unreal in the world of the film, because the entire rest of the movie plays as real, with those very same characters a part of the intricate world.
Pulling back and revealing more of the studio, the camera exits the interior and floats a bit, as a grand Hollywood opera plays out across the acres of studio lot. Griffin Mill arrives, instantly harassed by a sci-fi writer pitching him a story. Mill gives him the brush-off and barrels inside. Camera stays on a different conversation, this one the head of security whining about the state of movies, “Cut, cut, cut…” This obvious counterpoint to the 8 minute shot we are currently inside of is another way of teasing the audience. There’s interplay, a wink and an acknowledgement of the film and its relationship to the viewer.
We settle in on Griffin Mill’s office, through the window like voyeurs. We’re allowed a glimpse into the pitching process, the thinking of these guys and how people stream in seeking approval and green lights. Mill is a prince of the system, and his main job is to say no repeatedly, over a hundred times per day.
We quickly learn that Mill seems alarmed about the sci-fi writer, and he alerts his assistant to notify security. Of course the sci-fi guy looks as harmless a nerd as they come.
But the action takes a turn and a spill as the bicycle carrying the mail tumbles in the lot. An unremarkable accident, except for one thing: the camera goes out of its way to home in on a particular postcard in the dropped mail. It pulls back up again, and the bicyclist is helped.
An asshole in a white Porsche arrives and stops abruptly to chat up a smoking hot actress in a red dress. Japanese business tourists stroll through. Lots of exposition passes left and right, right and left with minimal effort or time. The building blocks of the studio system are all included, tiny snippets that don’t warrant their own scenes or much elaboration.
New suits stroll out of the building, conspiratorial, hushed tones. “What’s all this talk about heads will roll?” There’s intrigue around the studio. Everyone is on edge, and the class system and hierarchy is clear. As they walk past Griffin Mill’s window, they note how the rumors suggest he’s to be replaced.
Instantly back into the window, Mill is now openly paranoid about the security situation. We leave the office to rejoin several of the faces we’ve already seen and then return to Mill’s office for the big moment. The postcard arrives. Mill’s current pitch involves he and the studio’s aversion to “political” content. Real political ideas aren’t welcome. There is a possible political opening, however, if it’s funny, weird, lighthearted, etc. All this plays upon our perceptions of what we’re watching right now and how we’re to interpret it.
When Mill flips the postcard, it’s a chill. The card is a threat. Somebody out there really, really doesn’t like him. He turns over his shoulder to spy out the window, and we see his face well for the first time.
by Joe Giambrone
“FUD (Fear Uncertainty Doubt) is generally a strategic attempt to influence perception by disseminating negative and dubious or false information.”
I gave up knocking heads with disinfobots concerning the 9/11 attacks back in 2009. It was after I read this, and it finally appeared hopeless. Barack Obama, the stuffed suit who could speak for hours and say exactly nothing, would continue the September 11th cover-up. The 9/11 Commission, which the two chairmen admitted was “set up to fail,” and was largely based on testimony extracted through torture in secret dungeons, was to be taken at face value by Obama’s Administration. Obama also went to great lengths to protect the CIA torturers and to persecute CIA whistleblowers like John Kiriakou.
It was by then a nightmarish media environment. Most so-called “alternative” press wouldn’t listen to actual, substantial complaints with corroborated evidence of government malfeasance and lying about 9/11. Accusing the government of criminal activity made one a “conspiracy theorist” by definition, even if the crimes were true. “Conspiracy theorist” describes every police investigator in the world; that’s what they do. Intelligent writers who pushed to discredit the government’s treasonous 9/11 cover-up were ignored.
“Treason against the United States shall consist only in levying War against them, or in adhering to their Enemies, giving them Aid and Comfort.”
The Bush White House committed Treason the moment they shielded the Saudi Arabian government from accountability, after the Saudis were caught giving material aid to the San Diego hijacker cell. This protection of the Saudi regime was, and remains, “Aid and Comfort,” as per the US Constitution.
By 2009, the 9/11 “Truth” Movement was so inundated with disinformation that it had become a laughingstock. The easily-discredited claims (lies) contaminated the greater issue and soiled dissenters across the board. “Turd blossom” was a Karl Rove phrase that could describe what the movement had devolved into. The media, whether corporate or foundation-funded, could find people ranting about “the Jews” or the Illuminati, the Lizard People, the missiles, holograms, mini-nukes or space beam weapons vaporizing the Twin Towers.
Many trolls, and some public personalities, appeared to be professional disinformation artists hard at work concocting and posting this crap online, which others repeated to their own detriment. One cannot easily prove that a specific person is a paid shill, a disinformation agent, a cyber agent provocateur, but be assured they are out there, and “out there.”
Author Thomas Pynchon wrote, “If they can get you asking the wrong questions, they don’t have to worry about answers.” I’ll go one better and in the process explain modern cyber disinformation: If they can get you asking stupid questions, then their lapdog media can dismiss you as a “nut.”
That’s how it works, people. Well beyond questions, they have long lassoed a whole generation of newbies into reposting pseudo evidence about the 9/11 attacks, as if these were established facts. That’s FUD, using bogus evidence to taint those who choose to pass it on.
“A honey pot, in intelligence jargon, is a tempting source of information or ‘dangle’ that is set out to lure intended victims into a trap. Ultimately the honey pot is violently and maliciously discredited so as to destroy the credibility of anything stuck to it by association.”
-Michael Ruppert, “Crossing the Rubicon,” p. 184
Photographs or sound bites are taken out of context to fabricate some new angle that no one had ever noticed before. More often than not, that was because these new findings were patently false. So much sloppy research and twisted factoids peppered the 9/11 “Truth” universe that the very concept of truth itself was devalued in the process.
Dictionary.com provides a clue:
“1. the true or actual state of a matter…
2. conformity with fact or reality; verity: the truth of a statement…”
Gravity holds us down on planet earth. True. It always has, and this is reinforced by countless experiments, observations and measurements. It is undisputed, and it cannot be disproven.
Things are much less clear when we consider the complex events leading to the September 11th 2001 attacks, the day itself and the aftermath. Matters are so cloudy that often we simply cannot know the truth of a specific question from the available public data.
Many aspects of the 9/11 attacks are unprovable, covered-up. Numerous crucial questions about the 9/11 plot remain outstanding, and many answers are simply not publicly knowable at this time. The first step to pursuing the real truth is to accept that you don’t know the answer already. The 9/11 “Truth” Movement, however, overflows with people who not only know it all, but they will accuse you of being an agent provocateur if you disagree with them about anything. Asking them to provide actual specific, relevant evidence for an outrageous claim is a sure way to invite howls for your banishment. That’s not a “truth” movement; that’s a belief movement. A bottomless chasm of difference separates the two.
To pursue the truth one must carefully analyze the evidence and assess what has been hidden from public view. That is a path toward the truth. Posting sarcastic propaganda and photographs with bumper-sticker pet theories is simply not analogous. That behavior indicates cultists, religious fanatics, dogmatists and more than a few dolts, racists and even the occasional red-blooded psychopath.
The propensity to simply pass along unverified information without investigating it has torpedoed the 9/11 “Truth” Movement, perhaps permanently. Due diligence requires analyzing a new claim and finding out what evidence supports or refutes it before posting it to some website or Facebook group (yes I’ve been guilty too; consider this my penance). Due diligence is extremely rare. Mis/Disinformation spreads without containment.
Some 9/11 claims can be discarded as ridiculous and at odds with other known, corroborated facts. But that doesn’t prevent them from being repeated ad nauseum. The claim that a missile destroyed the Pentagon lives on, probably the first major 9/11 disinformation coup, and it has long been cited by international corporate media as a sure indicator of mental illness or stupidity. You can point at 42 Pentagon witnesses who saw a plane, noting that zero eyewitnesses ever reported a missile, but, in a self-reinforcing religious mind wash, contrary evidence is handily dismissed. The messenger is bludgeoned. A steaming case of a “honey pot” trap, this Pentagon/missile theory originated from a website that called itself “Silent But Deadly,” hosted in France starting in June of 2003 (Warning: link to disinformation website). This missile theory popped up nearly two years after the actual 9/11 attacks and after a Congressional investigation needed to be censored by the White House, in order to protect their Saudi friends and possible co-conspirators.
“Silent but deadly” is, of course, a euphemism for flatulation! Not just any fart either, but the worst kind.
World Trade Center “owner” Larry Silverstein’s “pull it” out of context blurb will never die either, despite its illogic. Most of those 9/11 “Truth” claims should have bitten the dust years ago, but on the Internet nothing ever dies.
This doesn’t mean that obsessed 9/11 “debunkers” have a dedication to the actual truth either, as it remains largely still covered-up. But that is a topic for another article.
We also have the very touchy matter of Israeli agents arrested in a van on September 11th 2001 after allegedly celebrating a jetliner’s impact into a World Trade Center tower. The full story of these men and Urban Moving Systems, where they worked, has been disappeared from public consciousness. It’s long censored by foundation-funded media, instead of being investigated.
“The lawyer for the five [arrested Israelis] will later note that one photograph developed by the FBI shows one of the men, Sivan Kurzberg, holding a lighted lighter in the foreground, with the burning WTC in the background.”
That’s a delicate matter because blatant neo-Nazi styled rants often accompany propaganda on this topic. Unapologetic anti-Semitic biases, censorship and counter-propaganda muddy this issue and push us further from the truth, as opposed to closer toward it.
This article is probably a waste of my time because I’m not sold that the “Truth Movement” actually wants truth! I’m fairly convinced that the general public does not want the truth either. It’s a minority within a minority that presses to really know and to discard bogus claims. That’s just not enough momentum.
Hopefully that “Rethink 9/11” meme will get people to defer to the architectural and engineering experts, rather than trying to explain controlled demolition themselves. It is entirely possible that controlled demolition played a part in the World Trade Center’s destruction. Maybe even Sivan Kurzberg had a role in it.
It’s not proven. It’s not provable so far. It is one of those “known unknowns,” which Donald Rumsfeld put into the popular lexicon. Maybe it was, and maybe it wasn’t. Wild-eyed religious nut types with high school educations aren’t likely to convince anyone either way. Without verifiable, meticulous sourcing and corroboration, opinions are worthless. If they would let the people who know those technical fields make their cases as best they can we may inch closer toward the real truth.
Maybe they’ll dig up the WTC landfill and analyze all that buried dust. Maybe we’ll see more whistleblowers like Coleen Rowley, Sibel Edmonds, Senator Bob Graham, Kevin Ryan, Willie Rodriguez, J. Michael Springmann, Robert Wright, Indira Singh, Barry Jennings, Richard Grove, Thomas Drake, Anthony Shaffer, Tom Pickard, Ruben Garcia, even Norman Mineta and Richard Clarke.
Anyway, trying to argue sense with the 9/11 clown posse has proven illusory at best. Most don’t like it when they are shown to be in error, and they don’t want to hear contradictory evidence, no matter how true it is. Indicators suggest that most will continue mindlessly forwarding nonsense as “truth” without the slightest accountability to fact check or tailor their claims to the realm of the provable, the factual, the — a-hum — truth.
Joe Giambrone, American author, filmmaker, publishes Political Film Blog.
by Joe Giambrone
I have personally pushed to uncover the truth behind the attacks of September 11th since the summer of 2002. It was then that my wife took me to a little library in Moreno Valley, California, a tiny desert town. There we viewed a documentary film / evidentiary presentation called The Truth and Lies of 9/11, by former LA police detective Michael C. Ruppert. This is a fantastic film, and it changed my life, noting how Ruppert gathers a vast amount of evidence and brings an authority and a scrutiny to many claims and counter claims. That film is an excellent resource to introduce people to the myriad gaping holes in the US government’s stories concerning those paradigm-changing attacks. Ruppert touches on the complete collapse of the US air defenses, massive insider trading on the airlines and WTC firms through a bank connected to a high-level CIA official, and also the head of the Pakistani intelligence service (ISI), Lt. General Mahmud Ahmad, who was exposed for allegedly ordering money transfers to the lead hijacker: Mohamad Atta in Florida!
I wrote extensively on government information clampdowns such as the disappearances of the planes’ black boxes from evidence after firefighter Nicholas DeMasi had already told the press that he recovered three of the four units. The unprecedented destruction of evidence, the structural steel from the towers, should have been considered Obstruction of Justice and tampering with a crime scene. Malfeasance by the unelected Bush regime, they were warned about the upcoming attacks so many times that their refusal to act is beyond suspicious and appears to be prima facie evidence of high treason. The cover-up of Saudi agents who assisted the hijackers here in the USA, such as Omar Al Bayoumi, similarly establishes that treason occurred and continues to occur under two successive administrations. I may pen a future book entitled The Age of Treason.
With that out of the way, not everything said and typed out there on the wild and wooly web turns out to be true, supportable, or in context. More than that, the farther out there a claim sounds the more substantiation and hard evidence it needs to pass scrutiny. The statements people make about the attacks of September 11th need to be kept to an extremely high standard, a standard that resists “debunking,” the favorite term of the opposition. This opposition remarkably opposes “truth,” and their largely anonymous trolls regularly disparage the very idea of seeking the truth. This would be a comical situation if not for its direness, as the 9/11 attacks are trotted out repeatedly when America wants to wage wars of aggression abroad and steal protected freedoms here at home. The attacks are now a rationale for Washington to seize power and shirk accountability, and this, I believe, was the main motive that allowed 9/11 to happen in the first place.
Most people who talk about the September 11th attacks in a critical fashion today tend to focus on WTC Building 7 and the apparent controlled demolition there. This is not the only aspect to the attacks that invites scrutiny, and much more can and should be said. But one thing that does not in any way prove complicity by the government is a specific interview segment by Larry Silverstein, then owner of the World Trade Center. Silverstein stood to gain large insurance settlements from the attacks, and his authority would likely have been a factor if the buildings were pre-wired for demolition ahead of the attacks. Silverstein is a suspicious character, but not for the reason usually cited.
The famous Silverstein quote, which first circulated widely due to its inclusion in the film “Loose Change,” goes as follows:
“I remember getting a call from the fire department commander, telling me that they were not sure they were gonna be able to contain the fire, and I said, ‘We’ve had such terrible loss of life, maybe the smartest thing to do is pull it.’ And they made that decision to pull and we watched the building collapse. (America Rebuilds…)”
It is highly problematic to claim that Silverstein meant “pull the building,” as if this was an admission of controlled demolition. That is completely out of context, and in fact makes zero sense for several reasons. Now, I have argued this point previously and was confronted by the irrational rather than by any analytical approach to this issue.
If Larry Silverstein was a co-conspirator in demolishing his buildings, then he had no incentive to admit this on a taped interview for public television. How stupid can people imagine him to be? He can’t be a brilliant criminal mastermind and a complete idiot simultaneously. That’s cognitive dissonance.
But the logistical specifics of his conversation are glaring and at odds with that claim anyway. Silverstein talked to a “fire department commander,” not to a demolition company. Fire department commanders fight fires. They do not blow up buildings in the middle of the greatest terrorism attack in US history. If anyone demolished Building 7 it was certainly not a NY City fire department commander.
The fire department commander discussed “loss of life” as in thousands of dead firemen, those actual victims of these overwhelming attacks. Silverstein acknowledged this loss of life in the call and proceeded to suggest they stop, as the building was of less value than the lives.
The entire out-of-context claim against Silverstein is that the single word “it” refers to “the building,” as opposed to the word “it” meaning “the firefighting operation.” The two competing statements would read, “…maybe the smartest thing to do is pull the building,” or conversely, “…maybe the smartest thing to do is pull the firefighting operation.”
Silverstein’s full quote clearly implies that “it” refers to the firefighting operation and not to controlled demolition, and that is what Silverstein himself clarified in a press release shortly after the controversy spread. The claim that he meant something other than what he himself says he meant is specious, and that claim certainly would not count for anything in an actual court of law. It is a red herring then, proof of exactly nothing.
Further, the final phrase of that exchange, “…and we watched the building collapse,” is the official story! There is nothing incriminating about this exchange whatsoever. Using it as some kind of gotcha blurb can only destroy the credibility of the person making the claim.
Credibility counts when pressing for the truth in a sea of misinformation and disinformation. That is a battle I have fought tooth and nail for over a decade now. Weak claims are just that: weak. False claims are the worst, and unfortunately this Silverstein “pull the building” claim is demonstrably false on its face. This is the type of mistake, or sloppy reasoning, that the “debunkers” capitalize on to discredit the entire 9/11 Truth Movement. If you care about the integrity and credibility of the movement and want it to actually succeed then reexamine what evidence you push out there on the world and what exactly it proves or does not prove.
In November of 2003, Senator Max Cleland resigned from the 9/11 Commission investigation, directly disparaging it by way of the Warren Commission investigation. Senator Cleland said:
[T]he Warren Commission blew it. I’m not going to be part of that. I’m not going to be part of looking at information only partially. I’m not going to be part of just coming to quick conclusions. I’m not going to be part of political pressure to do this or not do that (Boehlert).
The most obvious fact, to indicate that the true story of John F. Kennedy’s slaying is not as the government has presented, is the cover-up itself. Elaborate cover-ups spanning 50 years cannot orchestrate themselves, and there must be compelling reasons for hiding the truth from the American people, or else it would simply be declassified and revealed. If the killing of the president was committed by a lone nut single shooter named Lee Harvey Oswald, because of his great love of Marxism, there would be no compelling reason to keep his files secret five decades after the fact. Quite the opposite, Mr. Oswald’s clear guilt and personal history would have been useful propaganda material in the ideological battle between the Western world and the Soviet bloc. The ongoing and arguably illegal suppression of assassination evidence by the US government should be taken as a clear indicator of some level of official complicity in the original assassination.
Despite the US government and major media pressing the official story for fifty years, still relatively few Americans believe it. By 2004, “74 percent” of Americans thought there was a “cover-up of the facts about the assassination of JFK” (Blanton). Today, polls show a majority firmly behind the conspiratorial view, with an April 2013 Associated Press finding that, “59 percent of Americans think multiple people were involved in a conspiracy.”
Of course the 1979 House Select Committee on Assassinations (HSCA) determined the killing was “probably” a conspiracy, with a pathetic guess their final determination. Their committee was “unable to determine” the identities of other shooters or the “extent of the conspiracy” (Porter). This is more evidence of cover-up, especially so given the sheer number of documents to be released after 1979, and, even more damaging, those that remain secret to this day. We know of at least 1,100 multi-page records related to the JFK hit that remain classified.
Among those still classified records are details of the CIA’s surveillance of Lee Harvey Oswald prior to the assassination (Morley, “Top 7…” ). Characters kept shielded from public scrutiny include Bill Harvey who headed an assassination team for CIA code named “ZR-RIFLE.” CIA operative David A. Phillips was allegedly seen with Oswald in Dallas in September of 1963, two months before the slaying of a president. At least 332 hidden pages concern E. Howard Hunt, a CIA thug and Nixon “plumber” (plugged leaks) involved in Watergate. Hunt would confess on his deathbed to being part of the JFK hit, as published in Rolling Stone, although specifics of his story may be inaccurate (Maier). In his confession E. Howard Hunt did name Cord Meyer, Bill Harvey, David Morales, David A. Phillips, Frank Sturgis and then Vice President Lyndon B. Johnson (Hedegaard).
E. Howard Hunt’s Confession
The second JFK investigation, the 1979 HSCA, in no way got to the truth of the matter, and nowhere is this more clearly shown than in its failure to interview Jerrol Custer when it addressed whether the Kennedy X-rays were forgeries or not (HSCA, “Section IV”). Custer was the x-ray technician who took the pictures, and yet he was not brought in to clarify that the images were authentic. Custer testified in 1997 to the Assassinations Records Review Board: “[W]hen I looked into the skull – I remember seeing an apparatus in there… It was non-human. It had – I’m not sure if it was metallic or plastic…” His commanding officer, Dr. Ebersole returned late that night with additional skull fragments from Dallas. “High-ranking people had talked to [Ebersole]. And he suggested to me that everything I see from now on, I should forget” (ARRB, “Deposition…” p146).
Three days after Kennedy’s killing, and just one day after Lee Harvey Oswald was also gunned down — while in police custody and having never confessed to anything — the assistant Attorney General of the United States, Nicholas Katzenbach, wrote a memo to a white house aide that included this point: “The public must be satisfied that Oswald was the assassin; that he did not have confederates who are still at large; and that the evidence was such that he would have been convicted at trial” (Katzenbach).
Clearly, at this early juncture there was no way for Nicholas Katzenbach to know these things as facts. In explaining his memo, Katzenbach told the House Select Committee on Assassinations that his emphasis was on full disclosure and not on pressing the lone assassin theory (HSCA, p.653). Katzenbach’s premature memo also noted some conspiracy theories that the Soviets were behind the Kennedy killing or that the extreme right wing was behind it in order to blame it on leftists. “Unfortunately, the facts on Oswald seem about too pat, too obvious (Marxist, Cuba, Russian wife, etc.)” (Katzenbach).
So even as he relayed the (premature) determination of FBI agents that Oswald was responsible and that he acted alone, Katzenbach expressed a reservation that it seemed “too obvious” that Oswald was so blatantly linked to the Soviet bloc.
We see an official policy to stick to the lone assassin theory, and specifically not to blame the JFK hit on the Soviets or Cuba, from President Johnson as well. A phone call on November 29th, one week after the slaying, from the President to Senator Richard Russell, made clear his concern. Johnson said, “[W]e’ve got to take this out of the arena where they’re testifying that Khrushchev and Castro did this and did that and kicking us into a war that can kill 40 million Americans in an hour…” The direct threat of nuclear war supposedly took precedent rather than full disclosure, at least from the mouth of President Johnson. This rationale for covering up some facts was already established and on the record, inside the white house, one week after President Kennedy’s murder.
To me, a pontificating Internet blowhard of questionable character, it’s not hard to differentiate a good short film from a bad one. There’s a very easy litmus test, and it usually works. It works so well that I click right on out of there when a film fails this test, and I have a strong suspicion that I’m not alone.
Perhaps festival snob judges use different criteria (a probability). Perhaps the masses use this one.
Here is the magical secret to a short film that is truly worth spreading:
That’s it. That’s the whole ballgame. I can stop writing now. It’s the same criteria for longer works as well, but this basic characteristic, this essential and fundamental property of good film vs. bad is usually the last thing that most amateur filmmakers consider. They obsess over every other aspect of making a movie, the nuts and the bolts. They don’t even consider the editing of the thing until everything is shot. Then they don’t want to cut the excruciatingly boring stuff, because a lot of work went into filming it in the first place. These decisions should have been made at the script stage, in pre-production, thinking about why every shot actually is needed or isn’t. But more importantly: why the shots they have written are boring and don’t convey enough story in a short enough amount of time.
Craft shots that give multiple channels of information to the viewer, instead of leaving viewers waiting, and waiting, and waiting for your God damned pretentious piece of shit to actually start.
That means an inciting incident right at the beginning that can hook people and set up an interesting story. Without front-loading your film with a unique and meaningful opening scene you’re dead. You are done. I have already clicked onto something else, and I have no regrets about leaving you behind.
Now these are general principles, and building it is easier said than done. How does one craft an opening scene that can hook people and ensure they keep watching?
Well no one can tell you that. It’s subjective, entirely dependent on the story. Each story has its own trajectory, its own unique set of parameters, unless you’re copying others and basically stealing (in which case a career on Wall Street might be more appropriate rather than in the arts). Art is supposed to take it to the next level, to build, to make connections that others simply hadn’t made before. Even working in a genre, new situations and consequences can, and must, present themselves. Remakes of popular films tend to innovate new twists. Or else what’s the point? What is the point of shoveling the same story? Why are you, the filmmaker, required at all? A machine can rehash the past, and probably with better efficiency.
But the main problem in most short films I come across (and that is quite a lot) is that they are boring as fucking hell on ice. The opening scenes don’t portend anything at all. They aren’t intricately thought out situations, and they aren’t much of a story. They are banal, trivial, pointless and not worth watching.
Perhaps I’m jaded, not wowed by the ability of twenty-somethings to press record on a DSLR. Perhaps even with filmic visuals the pretty pictures’ complete lack of meaning and drama registers most with me.
Film is dramatic if it is anything. It needs the conflict of opposing ideas (and an educated writer). It needs the spark of antagonism. Something must be off and the resolution unclear. That’s what compels us to keep watching. A camera can meander down all the long boring hallways of the world, but who cares? Each second and each frame of film must be justified: why are you wasting the audience’s time?
When one looks at a photograph he or she can look for a second or for a minute. The choice is up to them.
When one looks at a movie, the duration of every image has been decided by someone else for them. They are powerless, stuck, trapped, helpless, at the mercy of the editor now. Film exists in time. Time is a factor that is a basic fundamental aspect of every shot, every scene, every sequence, and the work as a whole. Time is unique to moving pictures and needs to be considered as an important aspect of the process. It needs to be considered at various stages and reconsidered over and over again until the finished film doesn’t waste the audience’s time at any point.
Wasting a minute of screen time on scenery may not seem like an egregious sin. But with 1,000 people in the audience, you’ve wasted 1,000 minutes of people’s lives on the scenery. That’s not a formula for success, I’m sorry to say, but it happens all the time. Economy in the presentation is paramount.
That means giving people more and more of the story through as many channels as possible. This is where amateurs and professionals tend to diverge.
Reveal vs. conceal is the eternal struggle for writers of all media. When is the correct moment to show something, and will showing it reveal too much, making the story predictable? This is where experience and knowledge make all the difference. Apparently most of these boring films err on the side of concealing everything. They don’t want to give away the ending, and so they keep it all hidden until the last scene. Unfortunately, no one is watching by then. The problem needs a more nuanced approach, a way to reveal a larger truth in tiny increments. These stages of revelation are like pieces of a jigsaw puzzle that come together and suddenly jump to life at the end. Figuring the correct sequence of incremental revelations (and getting it moving soon) is the crux of the game.
A good film will hit the viewer with sound and imagery in abundance: background sounds, foreground sounds, music, specially chosen sound effects that are relevant to the story, foreground imagery, background imagery, the perfect location, the perfect lighting, the perfect camera motion, a perfect transformation as the drama unfolds during a take. While the student film lingers on some background scenery, the more accomplished film has already conveyed a dozen things about the world, the characters and the conflict to the audience. The interplay of background to foreground in visuals and in audio keeps the watchers watching. Shots should be mined for opportunities to give clues in the background as well as in the foreground, by the first frame as well as the last frame of a shot. The action that unfolds during a shot can convey many different pieces of information, if one abandons linear thinking.
Front-loading, providing sufficient story information up front to set up the narrative through to the end, is the major missing ingredient in bad shorts. The boring films just exist on a simple linear line. The amazing films exist on multiple lines of storytelling, weaving a tapestry. Boring films focus on a single, obvious and unremarkable element, and hope that people will wait for something interesting to happen later – maybe. Films need to start interesting and accelerate from there. Life’s too short.